12 Ways to Go Green This Valentine's Day

 Close-Up Of Hand Holding Heart Shaped Succulent Plant for valentine's

Sutthiwat Srikhrueadam / Getty Images

If Facebook forced me to define my relationship with Valentine's Day, I'd have to select "it's complicated." On one hand, it's a good excuse to go on a sugar-high-fueled glittery-pink-heart-shaped spree of sharing the love.

On the other hand, Valentine's Day has become a horribly shopping-driven holiday that encourages us to commodify our relationships and evaluate how much we're loved by how much someone spends on us. Not to mention that it creates a lot of trash from wasteful packaging and cards that may not even make it to the recycling bin.

So, to reconcile these two impulses, I'm offering this list of ways to share the love with everyone you adore without hating on the environment.

1. Make an edible Valentine

heart shaped valentine sugar cookies

Treehugger / Margaret Badore

Vegan treats will sweeten the day without the waste--since they'll definitely be devoured. Consider homemade Sweetheart sugar cookies or chocolate cupcakes with strawberry filling.

2. Avoid e-waste cards

That singing card might be charming, but e-waste is less cute.

3. Buy fair-trade and rainforest friendly chocolate

Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One Chocolate

Dr. Bronner's

If you're single or not, this day will involved some sort of chocolate for many people, but cocoa farming is associated with some serious ethical and environmental problems. That's why it's important to stick with fair trade chocolate.

4. Craft a recycled Valentine

An old-fashioned homemade Valentine can be way more meaningful than something you find in a store. Consider turning scrap paper, pressed flowers, or fabric scraps into cool, handmade cards and tokens of affection.

5. Shop your closet

That scarf you've never worn? That book you're not going to re-read? Consider re-gifting. Or check out Gifteng, a site that helps you give and receive in your area.

6. Think local

If you're going to do some gift shopping or eating out, consider supporting a local business instead of a big chain. You can also look for locally made products. For example, I recently discovered Bixby chocolate, made here in New York state with ethical cocoa.

7. Look for organic, local flowers

organic wildflower bouquet in recycled glass jar sits in sunlight on wooden table

Jena Ardell / Getty Images

If flowers are a must, look for organically grown options from your local plant nursery, because cut flowers can be particularly drenched in toxic pesticides.

8. Consider a potted plant

lemon balm grows in terracotta container near windowsill and cactus

Treehugger / Stephanie Todaro Photography

Even better than cut flowers, why not give a plant that will last longer than a week?

9. Choose sustainable wine

When it comes to picking a wine, look for the organic label or the Rainforest Alliance seal.

10. Select ethical jewelry

The Nozomi Project ethical jewelry

Courtesy of The Nozomi Project

I love jewelry that comes with a beautiful story. If jewelry is the only way to delight your beloved, consider browsing Helpsy's selection or supporting the Nozomi Project.

11. Send the perfect .GIF

It definitely won't end up in the waste bin.

12. Do something extra nice.

Maybe it's making dinner for your mom or maybe it's taking out the compost for your roommate. Maybe it's just calling that friend you haven't heard from in a long time. I'm sure you can think of something nice to do for the people you care about, and that's what this day should really be all about.